This is off-topic when it comes to LENR, but since we discuss a lot of things here connected with the big picture of energy, I thought this was worth mentioning.
The U.S. Geological Survey announced this week that they have determined that an area of west Texas known as the Wolfcamp shale of the Midland Basin, Permian Basin Province, contains 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.. This would make it the largest oil and gas field in the United States, three times larger than the Bakken Shale area of North Dakota which has produced huge amounts of oil and gas in recent years and contributed the the United States becoming the largest producer of oil and gas in the world.
New extraction techniques developed in recent years (fracking) have made much more oil and gas recoverable than was previously available, and this is what has made such a difference in US production.
In a statement from the USGS, Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program stated: “The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more.”
We’ve been discussing here lately the commitment of the upcoming Trump administration to develop US petroleum resources, and this find could play into this new push. Still, the oil and gas industry is susceptible to the boom and bust cycle, and more supply could push prices lower over time, and make the development of these resources unattractive economically.
Still, if LENR ever hits the market and is commercially competitive with petroleum (as I believe it has the potential to be), it’s possible that these vast oil and gas resources may remain largely undeveloped.